There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the great outdoors with a great trek. It’s fun, and there are so many health benefits. But there are also lots of risks and dangers. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, sometimes the unexpected can happen. Fortunately there are things you can do, and equipment you can pack to help you stay safe on your trekking adventure.
- Whether you’re going it alone or with a group, always let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to be away for so they can arrange help if the worst should happen.
- Trek during the day, and leave yourself enough time to set up your camp before it gets dark. Not only is it easier to get lost in the dark, but it can get really cold at night and you’re also at risk from wild animals that creep out after dark.
- Aim to keep your trek bag under 15kg to avoid carrying too heavy a load.
- Pack for all weather and conditions. Trekking to high altitudes can often see changeable weather, so pack lots of warm and waterproof layers. And take extra care in the rain and snow as trails can become slippery.
- Make sure your boots fit you comfortably, and you’ve had time to break them in. Blisters can be extremely painful and could put an end to your trek pretty quickly.
- Pack more food and drink that you think you’ll need, and food which won’t go off quickly.
- Research your route before you set off, and make sure you have a map and detailed instructions to hand.
Useful kit to help you stay safe on your trek:
- Blister treatment/plasters
- First aid kit (make sure it’s been replenished with any used/missing items)
- A headlamp or torch
- Suntan lotion/hat/sunglasses in hot weather
- A water filter/purifier to keep the weight of your backpack down and your water levels up
- A whistle, so you’ll be heard if you come in to difficulty
- Hand sanitiser/baby wipes
- Insect repellent to keep those pests at bay
- A knife or multi-tool
- Phone (though do not rely on it as you may not always get signal)
- Credit card/cash in case you end up spending the night in a local hostel, or need to get transport
- Navigation tools such as a map or compass
- Lighter/matches (for heat and cooking)
- A sturdy tent for your overnight camps
- Bivy sack (a waterproof breathable barrier for your sleeping bag)
- If trekking overseas, it’s always a good idea to get travel insurance in case you need emergency assistance.
In addition to your general trekking equipment, and depending on the trip you have chosen, you may also need some climbing and mountaineering equipment:
- Crampon-compatible boots
- Mountaineering harness
- Mountaineering ice-axe
- Climbing sling and carabiners
- Climbing helmet
Just remember not to attempt anything too challenging if you’re a beginner. The above equipment may only be needed as you attempt more challenging treks and terrain as you gain in experience.